Guest Author: Laura Breck

Hey guys! Please join me in welcoming Laura Breck today. Laura is a member of Midest Fiction Writers, a Minnesota chapter of RWA and one the dearest people you’ll ever meet. She’s also celebrating the release of her first book this month, SECRET LAS VEGAS LIVES. Woo hoo, Laura! And welcome to the convertible …

New Book and Fun Contest!

My first novel, Secret Vegas Lives, was released in October, and I’m so crazily excited! This book was a pleasure to write, re-write, and re-write again as I learned the craft, and listened to the advice of critique partners. It started out with a totally different first chapter, and expanded to include a blackmailer and a mystery. When I read it, I’m still amazed that this all came from…me!

Many authors compare writing a novel to giving birth to a baby. If that’s true, then marketing a book is like trying to convince people to babysit. Oh, sure, family and friends will go for it, because – well – they’re family and friends, and they have to. But how do I convince complete strangers that they’ll love my ‘baby’ as much as I do?

How about using a catchy blurb: Mistaken for a blackmailer, socialite Valerie Kane will do anything to keep sexy Italian crime writer Antonio Daniato from publicly exposing her, and Antonio is wickedly intent on seeing how far Valerie will go to protect her reputation.

Bestselling author Antonio Daniato sets a trap to capture his blackmailers, and is surprised when well-known psychologist Valerie Kane stumbles into his arms. She swears she’s not involved, but he threatens to expose her unless she reveals her accomplice. When she bares her soul to prove her innocence, Antonio is fascinated by her honesty, but shaken by the intensity of his desire for her.

Surrendering to temptation, Valerie defies her family’s wishes and risks her reputation to let hot blooded, enigmatic Antonio into her life. But she uncovers evidence that he’s staging the blackmail scenes as research for his next book – and casting her as the blackmailer. When she confronts him, it’s his turn to convince her of his innocence.

Their outrageous sexual attraction keeps them in each other’s arms, but mutual distrust prevents them from admitting their deeper emotions. When the true blackmailer threatens to reveal Antonio’s double life, Antonio yields to his guilt and chooses to let Valerie go. But Valerie discovers his secret, and will fight for Antonio against an addiction whose hold on him may be stronger than their love.

And then I could throw in a spicy excerpt: Antonio opened a carved wooden door that reminded him of his parents’ vineyard in Italy. He flicked on the light and saw stairs leading down to a wine cellar, but only got down the first step before he heard a scream from upstairs.

Valerie? Everything okay?” He set his beer down and ran. Halfway up to the second floor he heard her laughter.

He followed her voice into the bedroom and looked around. Bed, side tables, dressers, closet doors open, bathroom door, and two big stuffed chairs, but no one in the room.

He heard her laugh from the closet. “Valerie?”

She walked out, giggling, wearing jeans and holding a shirt over her front to cover–he swallowed hard–her bra.

“I heard a scream.”

She was still laughing. “I’m sorry, I was startled.” She held up what looked like a tarantula and tossed it at him. “I found this in my boot.”

He caught the spider. Rubber. “Someone playing a joke on you?”

“It had to be my brother. He’s always doing things like this. I just wonder how long it’s been in there.”

He walked toward her, feeling like a spider advancing on an unsuspecting butterfly. “Since we’re up here…”

Her eyes changed from laughing to serious. He ran his hand through her long, silky hair, then up her back to the nape of her neck. “Kiss me.”

She let out a breath, leaned in to him and pressed her lips to his. One hand held her shirt over her breasts, the other fisted in his T-shirt and pulled him closer. Her tongue teased his lips, he opened for her and their tongues played.

He walked her backward, lowered her to the bed and laid half on top of her, kissing her deeply, slowly. Her tan silk bedspread was a sensual glide against his skin. He ran his fingers over her ribs; her skin felt even more enticing.

She was perfect under him, more passionate than he’d imagined, sweeter than anything he’d tasted.

He should stop. Damn. He’d promised himself he’d be a gentleman tonight, and he was damn close to seducing her.

Removing his leg, he slowed the kiss. Looking into her eyes, he saw need as hot as his own, but her hand still held the shirt across her breasts. A sure sign she didn’t want him to go further.

He sat up. “I’ll go downstairs and let you get dressed.”

“Thanks for coming to my rescue.”

“Anytime.” He stood.

Her hair fanned out on the bedspread, tempting him unmercifully. This time he would walk away. Next time it would end much differently.

Maybe a tug on the heartstrings?

A portion of the proceeds of Secret Vegas Lives are donated to The Shade Tree Shelter in Las Vegas, Nevada. The shade tree is a shelter for women, children, and their pets. I think it’s a lovely idea to include a pet shelter. Many women in abusive situations won’t leave home because they don’t want to abandon their furry friends. I’m pleased that The Shade Tree has allowed me to partner with them.

How about the possibility of a gift? I will send one commenter a goodie bag of my promotional items. Tell me how you convince people to babysit, or if you’re a writer, your favorite book marketing strategy.

Thank you to Riding With the Top Down for having me here today. It’s an honor to be in the company of such fabulous writers! I look forward to reading your comments.

All my best,


You can buy Secret Vegas Lives at


About Helen Brenna

Helen Brenna is the RITA award winning author of romances for Harlequin's Superromance line. Three more books in her popular Mirabelle Island series will be release in July, August and September of 2011. For more information, check out her website at
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22 Responses to Guest Author: Laura Breck

  1. Minna says:

    I don't have a baby or even a pet to look after, so I don't have to convince people to babysit.

  2. Well when i want to go watch a movie or go out for sushi (those are the highlights of my life besides reading a good book) the only people i plead to babysit is my parents otherwise i stay home:( haha. promising them to get them goodies or dinner usually does the trick but its usually once a month.

  3. oh yeah your book sounds so good im diff going to order it and with it wonderful that your helping this shelter. I was wondering how can we donate to this great cause? thank you.

  4. RKCharron says:

    Hi :)Thanks for the excellent excerpt!All the best,RKCharronxoxo

  5. Laura Breck says:

    Minna – I didn't think of pet babysitting, but that's a good point. Last week, a friend asked me to pet-sit his African gray parrot. Huh??? Victoriasdreams – yummm, sushi! I'm craving it now, even though I'm still having my breakfast coffee! Thank you for your interest in The Shade Tree Shelter. My website., has a page with information and links to the shelter. They'd truly appreciate hearing from you.RK – it's a spicy excerpt, and definitely reflects the tone of the book. Thanks for the kind words!

  6. Keri Ford says:

    I don't ask people to babysit. It makes me feel too bad. Every now and then i ask my mom if I've got a doc's appointment or something I need to do where the kid can't go. I'm a stay-at-home mom and everyone works. I don't want to burden their day off just so I can have a day off. So I just don't ask.Congrats on the release! It sounds great!

  7. Helen Brenna says:

    Hey Laura! Welcome!Thank goodness I don't need bbsitters for my kids anymore and my dd is old enough to pet sit for us. I'm on easy street!Love the excerpt. Very hot!

  8. lois greiman says:

    Thanks for joining us, Laura. And huge congrats on your first release. It's such a thrill isn't it? I love your cover and you sexy hero. I don't think you'll have any trouble getting women to babysit him. 🙂

  9. Minna says:

    I'm usually the one who is babysitting a pet, my brother's dog, and as much as I like his dog, there's no way I'd do that for completely free. That dog has mind of her own and when she decides something, like chase birds around the pond all day, she is blind and deaf to anything else.

  10. Laura Breck says:

    Keri – I love that you're a stay-at-home mom. Good for you! I bet you get a lot of writing done…(I snuck a peek at your website – it's darling! And your excerpts are really compelling.)Helen – thanks for the wonderful introduction today, and for posting my 'spicy' excerpt. I'm glad Riding With The Top Down readers can handle the heat. ;-})

  11. Welcome, Laura! How generous of you to donate part of your book's earnings to Shade Tree.I really don't do much anymore to try to market my books. The internet is the most accessible tool for writers, and I admire writers who use it effectively, which means balancing personal life with real writing time with online stuff. It's a big challenge. I have a web site, and I love being part of this blog.Congratulations on your new book!

  12. LSUReader says:

    Your book sounds good. Now, about that babysitting question…I don't know the secret to getting folks to babysit, but my kids sure do! I'm the grandmother who is always sitting for one of the grandchildren. If I figure out what's working on me I'll let you know.

  13. Keri Ford says:

    Thank you Laura! Is in need of an update, but my new computer didn't come with the miscrosoft program to do that with. eek! *headdesk*Am starting to look for designers to do it for me…yay Christmas presents from hubby who never knows what to get me.

  14. catslady says:

    I'm with Keri and never had babysitters. We just didn't do much when the kids were young. I think that's wonderful that you contribute to The Shade Tree Shelter and what a wonderful idea to include pets!!!!

  15. Laura Breck says:

    Lois – I have you scheduled to babysit Antonio for me New Years Eve in Vegas, okay?Kathleen – I hope some day to be at the point you are, where my books will sell themselves. Thanks for the congrats – I'm having a lot of fun!~

  16. Laura Breck says:

    Keri – I love doing my own website with WordPress – I had my designer teach me how to do it, and I pop in every day and make changes. Just something to consider…

  17. Lady_Graeye says:

    Money always used to work for me!When you have five kids thats they onlu thing that did work! Ha Ha!

  18. Not many babysitters here, either. We had the kids across the street come over on occasion. Now we're in the petsitting dilemma. Vacation over Christmas and the in-laws, who used to watch our previous dog, just brought home a new puppy this week and our 8 mo. old pup is too much for them to take on as well.

  19. Whoops, also meant to say congratulations on your debut book, Laura, and thanks for visiting us here!

  20. Laura Breck says:

    I'm loving all the babysitting chat. I remember calling my parents and saying, "Little Jay wants to see you, and spend the night." And they'd say, "He's only five months old, and you want us to belive he's talking?" It worked anyway. Grandparents love to babysit!

  21. Susan Shay says:

    I popped over and watched your trailer. Great job! Did you do it yourself?Susan

  22. Laura Breck says:

    Hi Susan, I did create the video myself using MS Movie Maker. I found the photos my cover artist used on my book cover, bought them and a few more. Then I found a great royalty-free music site and chose a modern, Vegasy music. It took me about 8 hours, but I like it a lot too!Thanks for the compliment!

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